SYRACUSE, N.Y. (SYRACUSE CRUNCH) – The Syracuse Crunch defeated the Hershey Bears, 5-3, tonight at the Giant Center and clinched a berth in the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs.

The Crunch swept the weekend’s three-in-three collecting all six possible points on their way to building a 39-25-7-2 record on the season. Syracuse also won the four-game season series against Hershey, 3-0-0-1.

Hugo Alnefelt recorded the win in net for the Crunch turning aside 31-of-34 shots. Pheonix Copley stopped 21-of-25 between the pipes for the Bears. Syracuse went 1-for-3 on the penalty kill, while Hershey was 1-for-6.

After a scoreless first period, the Bears opened scoring on the power play 4:57 into the middle stanza when Mike Sgarbossa centered the puck for Brett Leason to send in out front. Nine minutes later, the Crunch evened the score. Gage Goncalves dug the puck out from along the end boards to Simon Ryfors to grab and send home.

Syracuse took the lead just 1:52 into the third period off a rocket of a one-timer from Charles Hudon in the right circle while on the man-advantage. The team built up a two-goal lead at 5:10 when Remi Elie picked the far corner with a shot from the left faceoff dot.

Hershey responded at 8:41 when Garrett Pilon cut across the slot and waited out Alnefelt before chipping the puck over the sprawled out netminder. Just 24 seconds later, Gemel Smith shoveled in a backhander to regain the two-goal lead.

The Bears pulled within one again at 15:54 with a long point shot from Jake Massie, but Elie soon potted his second of the night into the empty net to secure a Crunch win.

The Crunch return home to host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Wednesday.